Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Americans with Disabilities Act: An Anniversary

On July 26th, 2012 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will observe its 22nd anniversary. The Act was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. It helped to make American society, for those with disabilities, more accessible. Its full title is: An Act to establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. The State Library has the original act in its collection of documents entitled Statutes at Large (104 Stat. 327).

ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. There are five major areas of concern: employment, public services, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the ADA Amendments Act. It is available in the State Library’s collection of Statutes at Large (122 Stat. 3553), all federal laws are available online at: http://www.fdsys.gov/.

Massachusetts created its Office on Disability in 1981. Details of the agency are on its website: http://www.mass.gov/anf/employment-equal-access-disability/oversight-agencies/mod/. The Massachusetts Office on Disability provides client services, community services and government services. Client services include information and help with individual problems; community services provide assistance based on community concerns and government services assure that state and federal laws are adhered to.

The State Library is located in room 341 of the State House and its hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Mondays through Fridays.